Saturday, 3 September 2016

Peñón de Jolúcar, Playa de las Azucenas, Charca de Suarez, Granada Province.

Birding on the Granada Coast with Juan Pérez Contreras.

I met Juan out side his place at 06:20 and we headed off down the coast to do the RAM sea watch at Peñón de Jolúcar on the edge of Torrenueva. We arrived a little early and had a scan around the rocks and cliffs and started the list off with Thekla Lark (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae), Sardinian Warbler (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala), Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica) and Yellow-legged Gull (Gaviota Patiamarilla / Larus Michahellis). 
The sea watching was a bit slow but we did record 40 or so Cory's Shearwaters (Pardela Cenicienta / Calonectris diomedea), a single Balearic (Pardela Balear / Puffinus mauretanicus), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Lesser Black-backed (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus), Audouin's Gull (Gaviota de Audouin / Larus audouinii), Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus) and most amazing was a flock of 18 immature Shags (Cormorán Mondudo / Phalacrocorax aristotelis) which out did the best group seen in the past by a long way. In the same area we also had several Spanish Ibex (Cabra pyreaica hispanica) and a Blue / Common Emperor (Anax imperator) which flew passed us in the early dawn light.
On the way to our next spot at Playa de las Azucenas we saw Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Cattle Egret (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis) and Barn Swallow (Golondrina Común / Hirundo rustica).
Once there we walked across the bridge, along the stream and out on to the beach. Along the river we found Reed (Carricero Común / Acrocephalus scrpaceus) and Cetti's Warblers (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Red Avadavat (Bengali Rojo / Amandava amandava) and on the port wall there were several Grey Herons (Garza Real / Ardea cinerea) and a single immature Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo). On the beach we had several Goldfinches (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis) feeding on the weeds and a flock of 7 Yellow Wagtails (Lavandera Boyera / Motacilla flava iberiae) which flew over. On the fields at the far end of the beach we added Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur), Nightingale (Ruisenor Común / Luscinia megarhynchos), Willow Warbler (Mosquitero Musical / Phylloscopus trochillus), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica) and more Thekla Larks
As we walked back along the beach we had a single Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans) flying west and along the river European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Grey (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea) and White Wagtails (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Common Waxbill (Estrilda Ondulada / Estrilda astrild) and a Monarch (Danaus plexippus).
We moved on again and on our way through to Charca we saw Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator) and Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula).
We parked and went into the site, just in side the gate we had a Spotted Flycatcher (Papamoscas Gris / Muscicapa striata) and Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and from the first small hide where we sat for 40 minutes or so we had Common Moorhen (Gallineta Común / Gallinulas chloropus), Green Sandpiper (Andarrios Grande / Tringa ochropus), Kingfisher (Martin Pescador / Alcedo atthis), Little Ringed Plover (Chorlitejo Chico / Charadrius dubius) and an immature Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina).
From the small hide at the far end of the same pool Juan found a very smart male Bluethroat (Pechiazul / Luscinia svecica), an immature Yellow Wagtail, the Dunlin which had followed us from the first hide and lots more Red Avadavats.
From the newish hide over looking a rather dry pool where we soon boosted the list with Water Rail (Rascón Europeo / Rallus aquaticus), 4x Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum), Lesser Emperor (Anax parthenope), Scarlet Darter (Crocothemis erythraea), Long Skimmer (Orthetrum trinacria) and Iberian Blue-tail (Ischnura graellsii). 
Juan and I then walked around to the main hide to look for a couple of Garganey (Cerceta Carretona / Anas querquedula) which he had seen a week or so earlier, on the way we had a Stripe-less Tree Frog (Hyla meridionalis). From the hide we soon found Eurasian Coot (Focha Común / Fulica atra), Little Grebe (Zampullín Común / Tachybaptus ruficollis), Northern Shoveler (Pato Cuchara / Anas clypeata), Common Pochard (Porrón Común / Aythya ferina), Night Heron (Marinete Común / Nycticorax nycticorax) x3, Red-knobbed Coot (Focha cornuda / Fulca cristata), Little Bittern (Avetorillo Común / Ixobrychus minutus) and then the two Garganey came in to view. 
We moved back to the newer hide and finished the visit off here adding Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus), Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus), Purple / Western Swamp-hen (Calamon Común / Porphyrio porphyrio), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops) and Snipe (Agachadiza Común / Gallinago gallinago). As we were walking back towards the gates Juan said shall we have a quick look in the first hide on the other route where we saw a Sedge Warbler (Carricerin Común / Acrocephalus schoenobaenus) and at least one more Bluethroat.
Our last stop was in the next hide where we had good views of a family of Red-knobbed Coots, two adults and four chicks, Stripe-necked Terrapin (Mauremys leprosa) and Perez's Frog (Rana Común / Pelophylax perezi).

Photographs from the top: Shags (Cormorán Mondudo / Phalacrocorax aristotelis) x2, immature Dunlin (Correlimos Común / Calidris alpina), Stripe-less Tree Frog (Hyla meridionalis), Eurasian Teal (Cerceta Común / Anas crecca), Little Egret (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta), Garganey (Cerceta Carretona / Anas querquedula) x3, Glossy Ibis (Morito Común / Plegadis falcinellus) x2 and Red-knobbed Coots (Focha cornuda / Fulca cristata) x2.

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